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Outbreak of botulism in a dairy herd in Turkey

DOI: 10.1186/2046-0481-60-8-481

Keywords: Cattle, botulism, toxin, type C, type D

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Botulism is caused by a neurotoxin produced by Clostridium botulinum, a gram-positive, spore-forming anaerobe. Botulinum toxin is an exotoxin produced during the growth and autolysis phase of the organism under anaerobic conditions [12,14]. Eight known botulinum toxins, A, B, Ca, Cb, D, E, F and G, have been identified. Disease in cattle is produced primarily by types C and D. Clostridium botulinum types C and D produce potent toxins in carrion, feed contaminated with dead rodents, birds or reptiles, or any rotting material [12,14,1]. This study is the first confirmation, by direct toxin isolation, of Clostridium botulinum type C and Clostridium botulinum type D in cattle, in Turkey.The study was conducted on a Holstein Friesian breeding farm near the town of Bandirma in Balikesir. The herd consisted of 105 cattle. Clinically, 26 cattle including milking cows were found to be suffering from different degrees of suspected botulism. They ranged in age from four to eight years and had been ill for between two and eight days. A routine clinical examination of the animals, including body temperature, pulse, respiratory rates and ruminal movements, was performed. The neurological examination included an assessment of each affected animal's mental status, gait, pupillary light reflexes, anal reflexes, tongue reflexes, swallowing reflexes, tail tone and sensitivity to pricking with a needle. In the detailed history, the owner reported that the milking cows' feed, in addition to grain, haylage and silage, included ensiled poultry litter. It was reported that dry cows, heifers and calves were unaffected. These animals were fed different rations, without poultry litter. Routine haematological values, including haematocrit, haemoglobin, erythrocyte, total white cell and platelet counts, were determined by a haemocell counter (Cell Dyn 3500; Abbott Inc., USA). The concentrations of serum urea, creatinine, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), creatinine kinase (CK) and, potassium (K


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